(Guest Post) Neil Turok Responds to Posts on Perimeter Institute

Dear James,

Thank you for this opportunity to respond to your recent blog posting on Perimeter Institute and offer some clarifications.

  • First, the comparisons of support for different institutions and programs presented in this posting mix total funding over time (including endowment contributions) with annual budgets and ignore substantial differences between their operations. For example, Perimeter Institute currently houses over 140 full-time trainees and researchers (from Masters students to senior faculty) whereas to my knowledge the Fields Institute has none.
  • Second, this blog post juxtaposes received funding with cultural events at Perimeter and implies that public monies are used to support ancillary activities, which is not accurate. Cultural and social events are supported through paid ticketing as well as private donations. Public funds are strictly allocated to the purpose for which they are intended: to support the research, training and educational outreach programs of the Institute.
You and your blog readers may be interested to know that a recent third party evaluation of Perimeter Institute’s cost-effectiveness was conducted by KPMG, as part of a comprehensive audit required as a condition of our government funding. The final report, available on our website, states “PI has designed and implemented practices and processes that promote economy and efficiency in the use of resources and that are effective in supporting the achievement of PI objectives and expected results.”

In closing, let me emphasize that Perimeter Institute takes very seriously its commitment to promoting basic scientific research in a collaborative manner with universities and other institutions across Ontario and Canada. In this context, Perimeter serves as an example of a successful public-private partnership which is helping to energize and strengthen the entire scientific community.


Neil Turok

Director, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics